Can The Cloud and Virtualisation Reduce Your Energy Bills?

17 January 2017

Modern IT equipment is now more energy efficient than in the past, but it still costs money to run. This includes the PCs on each person’s desk, the equipment in your server room, as well as the air conditioning unit you might have running in the server room to keep the equipment cool.

There was a time when you had no choice but to build an IT infrastructure in this way. The internet and the cloud now give you an alternative.

In theory, you could probably run your business with a fraction of the physical computers you currently have on the premises. You could probably also run your business with fewer – or even zero – on-site servers.

With fewer computers and servers, your business will use less electricity so you get the cheapest business electricity bills possible.

How Does It Work

The internet makes this possible. Instead of setting up a completely physical IT infrastructure at your location, this is set up in the cloud, i.e. a remote data centre. It means your business runs with virtual servers and your staff use virtual computers.

From a practical, day-to-day point of view, there is no difference. Your employees see exactly the same things on the screen as they do now. The difference is they will only have a screen, mouse, and keyboard at their desk as there is no actual computer. In addition, virtual servers can replace the physical machines in your server room.

Advantages and Disadvantages

We’ve already mentioned one of the key advantages of cloud computing and workstation/server virtualisation, i.e. reducing the amount of energy that you use. There are other advantages too. Firstly, you don’t have to spend money purchasing expensive IT equipment. Most virtualisation contracts are based on a monthly fee, so it is much easier to budget.

Also, management of the infrastructure – keeping it up-to-date, secure, and running efficiently – is the responsibility of your cloud provider. This reduces the IT management strain on your company.

In addition, the cloud provider is responsible for upgrading the hardware in their data centres and keeping everything modern. You, therefore, don’t have to worry about updating your equipment.

Also, the security in place at most cloud providers is to a very high standard, often to a higher standard than most SMEs have the ability or financial resources to implement.

What about the disadvantages? This basically comes down to trust and control. Many business owners feel more comfortable with having their IT on-site and under their complete control, despite the challenges this presents (as described above). Relinquishing that control means putting trust into the cloud provider that your data is safe and secure, and that your privacy is protected.

The Energy Use Question

So, there are arguments for and against moving away from physical IT infrastructures and into the cloud. From an energy use point of view only, moving to the cloud will help to lower your bills.

In addition, you can also help protect the environment by choosing a provider who has good energy efficiency policies. In other words, you can cut your energy bills and reduce your impact on the environment.

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